I would like write a short note to express my appreciation of your Discovering music program. I have tried several times over the years to "get into" classical music but have always struggled. I finally realised that I had to sit and listen to it, rather than having it on the background.
Once I started really listening to it, I began to enjoy it, but I didn't understand it. I found that reading a little about the piece helped but I was usually overwhelmed by terminology and unsure of what it was I was suppose to be listening out for. I then came across your show, and what a revelation it was. The background you provide, coupled with description, analysis and helpful metaphors, illustrated with live examples, has transformed my listening.
I am currently progressing (or should that be regressing) through the back catalogue on the website and enjoying it immensely. It is so refreshing to have a presenter who is concerned primarily with the subject rather than the promotion of self. Thank you again for illuminating this 46 year old working class, ex-punk, reggae loving Brummie.
Behemoth Dances - Performance Reviews
Christopher Morley – Birmingham Post
Monday, 16 May 2016
Stephen Johnson is a much respected presenter and writer about music. As we discovered in Saturday's concert from the remarkable Moscow State Symphony Orchestra he is also an accomplished composer.
Behemoth Dances' bristling energy was generously conveyed by the MSSO under Pavel Kogan's empowering baton
Possibly the Russians took an interest in his Behemoth Dances because of Johnson's passionate interest in the culture of their country. The scenario of this vibrant piece is based on a satirical Russian novel, but we don't actually need to know that, as this well-imagined score speaks for itself.
Its gripping, urgent opening has something of William Walton's brio about it, with bold, firmly-etched rhythms riding under confident orchestral sonorities. Darker interludes intervene, and there is particularly atmospheric use of the vibraphone.
Behemoth Dances' bristling energy was generously conveyed by the MSSO under Pavel Kogan's empowering baton, with the Hereford-based composer present to acknowledge the immense, well-deserved applause.